A recent study published a startling statistic. Elderly family caregivers who have chronic health problems have a 63 percent higher chance of dying before their non-caregiving peers. Why such a dramatic risk? One reason is because caregivers suffer from lower wellbeing than others. The study concluded that caregivers who work full-time and care for an elderly or disabled family member score 66.4 on the overall wellbeing scale. Non-caregivers score significantly higher with a score of 70.2.
Needless to say, being a caregiver takes an incredible toll on one’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Resolving difficult issues may be tough, but ignoring problems can create greater challenges later on. Family caregivers who neglect their own health and wellbeing aren’t doing themselves or their loved ones any favors. Lack of sleep, little or no exercise, and poor nutrition contribute to declining health and sapped energy. As hours spent in elderly homecare increase, caregivers can become socially withdrawn and isolated – even pulling away from spouses and children. Before long, a caregiver who continues on this path will hit rock bottom, essentially burning out.
The Importance of Emotional Support
As a caregiver, you may feel all alone, but this is far from the truth. Support is available, and actually critical to maintaining good health. Current research has determined that those who get emotional support while caregiving fare much better and provide care longer than those who don’t.
Family and friends are a good start - but might not give you the kind of assistance you need. Joining an elderly homecare or caregiver’s support group can help you cope more effectively with the demands of caregiving, work through feelings of grief and frustration, and get insightful suggestions for difficult problems. Support groups allow you the opportunity to share your feelings, compare notes with others who are going through the same things, and help you feel less isolated. Fellow caregivers offer understanding and empathy like no one else can, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
A common suggestion among caregivers is getting additional help. Hiring a dependable agency that offers homecare solutions such as ClearCare can ease the caregiver’s load considerably. Although some resist the idea of hiring outside help, the benefits are definitely worth it. Even freeing up a few hours each week can have a significant impact on a family caregiver’s health and overall wellbeing.
Family caregivers carry a heavy burden. The longer you try to carry it alone, the more it will weigh you down. Be alert to signs of burnout and recognize your body’s signals when it’s had enough. Asking for help does not admit defeat; it simply means you are taking practical steps to ensure your loved one is getting the best possible care. Working with a professional caregiver who clocks in and out using ClearCare’s innovative technology will put your mind at ease. Knowing that essential tasks are being completed as scheduled will reassure you that your loved one is well cared for. The relief and increased energy you will experience will prove that you’ve made the right decision.